Lt-Col. Bullen-Smith

Lieutenant-Colonel G.M. Bullen-Smith
2nd Bn., Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians)

 his departure, followed by that of Lieutenant-Colonel Bullen-Smith, left scarcely any of the officer who had landed with the Battalion in September, 1914. Death had claimed his due as he had done from other units in the field; many had been so severely wounded as to be unfit for further service in the field; and the ever-growing national army drained off the few remaining Regular officers from their own units.

(Witton, The History of the Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment, vol. 2, 224)

Born in India on 5 February 1870, George Moultrie Bullen-Smith attended Sandhurst and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1891. He was appointed to The Black Watch before being exchanged for another officer in the Leinster Regiment in 1894. When the 2nd Leinsters went to France in September 1914, Bullen-Smith was second-in-command. He became acting battalion commander following the wounding of Lieutenant-Colonel W.T.M. Reeve on 19 November 1914.

Continue reading

Lt-Col. Reeve

Lieutenant-Colonel W.T.M. Reeve
2nd Bn., Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians)

“Terrier” Reeve was devoted to the Battalion in which he had done all his regimental service and of which he had been adjutant and commanding officer. After his severe wound in 1914 he could have secured a comfortable appointment at home but his high sense of duty urged him to beg to be sent to the front again.

(Witton, The History of the Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment, vol. 2, 153)

Born in France on 29 June 1866, William Tankerville Moneypenny Reeve was the commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment on the outbreak of the Great War. He had joined the 2nd Leinsters after graduating from Sandhurst in 1887. He went to Africa as part of the expeditionary force against the Ashanti Empire in 1900. He remained part of the West African Field Force and commanded the Gold Coast Regiment from 1909 to 1911.

Continue reading

Maj. Conyers

Major Charles Conyers†
1st Bn., Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians)

6pm – Trench in firing line lost. Battalion ordered to counter attack. Left about 11pm. ‘C’ Coy gained the captured trench but were obliged to retire owing to enfilade machine gun fire being brought to bear on them. Major Conyers (commanding Bn) mortally wounded.

(1st Bn., Leinster Regiment War Diary, 11 May 1915)

Charles Conyers was born on 19 November 1867 at his family estate Castletown Conyers in Limerick, Ireland. He had been commissioned since 1889, served in the Boer War, and was a major with the Royal Irish Fusiliers on the out break of the Great War. He transferred to the 1st Battalion, Leinster Regiment to succeed Lieutenant-Colonel C.B. Prowse on 29 April 1915

Continue reading

Lt-Col. Prowse

Lieutenant-Colonel C.B. Prowse†
1st Bn., Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians)

Between the newly captured German lines the Brigadier was cheering us on, when a big shell dropped about 20 or 30 yards away, and a piece must have hit him on the explosion for he was seen to fall. Several men rushed to his assistance. Before he died he cheered the men, and told them to keep up the name of the “Stonewall Brigade.”

(The Wells Journal, 14 July 1916, 5)

Charles Bertie Prowse was born in West Monkton, England on 23 June 1869. He had been commissioned since 1889 and served as a staff officer during the Boer War. He was commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, Prince Albert’s (Somerset Light Infantry) Regiment during the early fighting of 1914 in France. He briefly took command of the 1st Battalion, Leinster Regiment in March 1915 until his promotion to brigadier general of the 11th Infantry Brigade the next month.

Continue reading

The Royal Canadians

A Brief History of
The Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment
(Royal Canadians)

Despite the contradictory and rather absurd title the regiment still clings to the reminders of its Canadian origin, displays the Maple Leaf on all public occasions, and its band plays “The Maple Leaf” before God Save the Queen.

(Mrs. Thomas Ahern, “Historical sketch of the 100th Prince of Wales Royal Canadian Regiment,” 11 May 1900, 14)

If the Canadian Expeditionary Force could raise battalions nicknamed the “Irish Rangers,” the “Irish Fusiliers,” and the “Irish Guards” during the First World War, then why shouldn’t Ireland have had a British Army regiment known as the “Royal Canadians”?

Continue reading

Lt. Col. Woodruffe

Lieutenant Colonel J.S. Woodruffe, D.S.O.
Royal Newfoundland Regiment

The new C.O., who soon gained the respect of all ranks, was with the Battalion for only six months. As might be expected, he was not the first British officer to find in the Regiment certain preferences, particularly in the matter of diet, which were unfamiliar to him.

 When invited to sample some capelin – the small, smelt-like fish which a true native of the island enjoys nibbling in an uncooked state after it has been salted, dried, and smoked – “our C.O. … tasted a bit and it nearly made him sick!”

 (G.W.L. Nicholson, Fighting Newfoundlander, 441)

On 1 January 1918, John Sheldon Woodruffe of the Royal Sussex Regiment assumed command of the Newfoundland Regiment, which had just been granted the Royal designation by the King. He was born in Hastings, Sussex, England on 2 February 1879. He had been commissioned in the Royal Sussex Regiment since 1899 and served in the Boer War.

Continue reading

Lt. Col. Forbes-Robertson

Lieutenant Colonel J. Forbes-Robertson, V.C
Newfoundland Regiment
Forbes Robertson

Later on the same day, when troops to the left of his line were giving way, he went to that flank and checked and steadied the line, inspiring confidence by his splendid coolness and disregard for personal danger. His horse was wounded three times and he was thrown five times.

 (Victoria Cross citation, London Gazette, 21 May 1918, 6057)

Born in West Yorkshire on 7 July 1884, James Forbes-Robertson was second-in-command of the Newfoundland Regiment and became acting commanding officer during Lieutenant Colonel Arthur L. Hadow’s sick leave from November 1916 until May 1917.

Continue reading

Lt. Col. Hadow

Lieutenant Colonel Arthur L. Hadow
Newfoundland Regiment

Although I am not a Newfoundlander I have always tried to identify myself with your interests & throughout I have always been activated solely by the question of efficiency & the honour of Regiment.

 Should I be spared & survive this war I shall look forward to the day when I am able to visit Newfoundland & renew the many friendships which I have made, & to see the country about which I have heard so much.

(Lt-Col. Hadow to minister of militia, 10 Feb 1918)

Born in England on 25 October 1877, Arthur Lovell Hadow was a long-serving British regular officer with tours of duty in Tibet, India, South Africa, Congo, and Sudan. In December 1915, he was selected to take over the Newfoundland Regiment following the wounding of Lieutenant Colonel R. de H. Burton. One soldier remembered the notorious disciplinarian: “Our Colonel now was Hadow, a son of a bitch who was over troops in India all his life. Thought common soldiers were dogs or something. But we taught him different.”

Continue reading

Lt. Col. Burton

Lieutenant Colonel R. de H. Burton
Newfoundland Regiment
de H Burton

Lt Col. Burton was also with them and he was looking remarkable well and his hand was now quite well though one of his fingers has been slightly bent. He said he was pleased to be among us again, and I must say he certainly looked it.

(Lt. O.W. Steele, diary, 11 Jan 1916)

Born in England on 8 September 1861, Reginald de Hardwicke Burton, was a former major with the Middlesex Regiment and Boer War veteran. He had been severely wounded at the Battle of Spion Kop in January 1900 and was placed on retired army pay in 1909. On 13 November 1914, he came out of retirement to take command of the Newfoundland Regiment. In August 1915, the unit left England for Egypt before deploying to the Gallipoli Front.

Continue reading

Lt. Col. Franklin

Lieutenant Colonel W.H. Franklin, D.S.O.
Newfoundland Regiment and 1/6th Royal Warwick Regiment

One gets heartily sick of this kind of fighting & the conditions are very trying. The line is much livelier the past 4 weeks & it looks as if the Germans would try one more big effort on this front soon, hope they will, as it would make our job easier. We are not far from the Somme so the past 2 weeks have been more trying.

 The present policy seems to be nightly raids from both sides. So far we have succeeded much better than the enemy at this game. I wish I had the Nflds were as they would be splendid at that kind of work.

 (Maj. W.H. Franklin to Governor Walter E. Davidson, 4 Feb 1916) 

Born in Lancashire, England in 1871, William Hodgson Franklin had immigrated to St. John’s, Newfoundland in 1891 and helped to organize a regiment on the outbreak of the Great War. He was commissioned as a captain but on arrival in England in October 1914, he transferred to the 1st Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. He deployed to France as a major with the 6th Battalion, Royal Warwick Regiment in March 1915. After a year, he assumed command of the battalion.

Continue reading